Dioxins, furans and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls
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Dioxins, furans and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls

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      Dioxins, furans, and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are the abbreviated names for a family of chemicals that have similar toxicity and shared chemical characteristics. The dioxins and furans are not manufactured or produced intentionally but are created when other chemicals or products are made. These chemicals may be created during burning of forests or household trash; chlorine bleaching of pulp and paper; or manufacturing or processing of certain types of chemicals, such as pesticides. Until banned in 1979, PCBs were manufactured as insulator fluids in heat-exchangers and transformers, as hydraulic fluids, and as additives to paints, oils, and caulks. All of these chemicals remain in the environment even though they are no longer manufactured. They enter the food chain and build up in larger animals.


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